Sunday, July 11, 2010

REVIEW: Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala.

Tell Me A Secret
Author: Holly Cupala.
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 22nd June 2010 (US Release)
Paperback, Advanced Readers Copy.

From Amazon
It's tough living in the shadow of a dead girl...
In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda's death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister's world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.
When two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears, Miranda is stripped of her former life. She must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister's demons and her own.
In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

First of all, I have to thank Holly Cupala for everything - since the day I found out I won a *signed* copy of Captivate by Carrie Jones on her blog, she has been nothing but kind to me! Thanks, Holly, for sending me the ARC of one of the best books of 2010, also known as yours, and all the general loveliness from you!

From the day I heard about Tell Me A Secret, I knew that it was going to be  a stunning debut. It was. Which obviously just goes to show how clever I am. And Holly :D
I spent ages on this review. I just couldn't find the words to descibe it, it's too..beautiful. Holly, you are fantastic. I loved this book. I hope you do too.

Tell Me A Secret is the story of Miranda, a seventeen year-old girl living a life full of secrets. Her (older), bad-girl sister, Xanda, died an unexplained and tragic death, while her parents are drowning themselves in their own sorrow.

Through intertwined flashbacks, and striking sights, we see Rand, confused, hurt, her relationship with Kamran completely ruined, memories of her sister shining through - the safety pin dress just totally stood out to me. I WANT A DRESS MADE OUT OF SAFETY PINS!!! - and her own anger leaking through the cracks. 
I really struggled to believe the actions of Rand's parents, her mother in particular. Their family now torn apart by Xanda's death - her mother is blaming everything on Rand's father, what did he think he was playing at, bringing that boy into their lives? It was obviously all his fault. Her mother was very controlling, and kind of..a drama queen, while her father was the quiet one, all the guilt had taken him over. Watching Miranda struggle without them was hard, I felt no reason to like them whatsoever, especially as they were there too, and they just stood back and watched their daughter ache with distress.   
What I loved most about Tell Me a Secret, is that it is basically the plain, hard truth. Nothing has been changed to fit our 'beliefs', no, but every one of those awful emotions is right there, waiting, just waiting. 

To describe Cupala's writing in a sentence is difficult. The tone to her words is like nothing I've read before, it's fierce, compelling and powerful. The scenes are realistic and vibrant. When I read Tell Me a Secret, I suffered the same, terrible experiences that Rand went through. At times, I just wanted to grab her, shake her and demand why she was acting so naive, so childish, and then I would feel myself recoiling; I felt sorry that she never had the same childhood as the people at her school, her sister's death changed everything for her, and that even though she was crumbling apart, she tried to keep herself together, to try to be nice to her mother, when all she wanted to do was scream and shout at her for her snobby, selfish behavior. 

In some parts, I have to say, it was hard to read (in a good way though) the words were just too raw, too painful for me, and that was something I never even expected. Tell Me a Secret is one of those books that takes an ordinary, hyped subject (teenage pregnancy) and twists it; twists it until it's a whole new idea. Tell Me a Secret is a page-turner. One that involves reality, honesty, and secrecy. A novel you'll think and think about, and if you that that little bit more, you might just solve the mystery. A strong, raw coming-of-age novel, about a girl stuck in her own labyrinth.

In few words, this is a stunning debut; intense, beautiful, natural, I can't think of any better words.


  1. A tantalizing review!! it sounds fabulous and i have very high hopes for this one, a job well done hun :)

  2. A lot of people seem to be reading, and loving, this- so glad you did too!
    Poor Miranda- having to cope with her sisters death, and her parents mourning.

  3. Sounds great. I'll add it to my TBR. Great review!

  4. Aww didn't yo just loved it. Great book - glad it aroused all those emotions in you!


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